“I’ve learned a lot about good and evil. They are not always what they appear to be.” Charles Van Doren
What is gluten? Gluten is everything in the world that may be dangerous or threatening, or even questionable. It is everything that must be avoided at any cost.
Imagine living in an environment (The Goldilocks Apartment Complex) in which you believe you are totally in control of your life through technology, including an invisible voice to guide you. You are protected from all ills, real and imagined, by wearing a protective suit, helmet, and goggles when you are forced to go out into the evil and dangerous world. In this environment, you are not permitted to touch another human being, even though you desperately want to conceive a child.
Maggie Low and Roger Manix
This is the world in which Copious and Hibiscus live. They speak in an odd, heightened language, saying to Jerry, the realtor, “…could we slink out for a hot minute to pontificate?” Their demands for a new apartment are satisfied when they can say, “Oh, it’s perfectly average” and “I enjoyed the fourteen flights of stairs.”
What happens, however, when that chosen life style is questioned and an alternate plan presented? The quintessential modern life style simply designated as “the suburbs.” The idyllic life of the “middle class” family, with the added guarantee of the joy of human touch and the fact that that no loved one will ever die.
Copious, as portrayed by Jeremiah Maestas, believes without question in the lifestyle he has chosen. Shawna Cormier as Hibiscus may have some doubts and even, god forbid, some questions. Maggie Low as Linda is scarily real as the mother, and Roger Manix as Maple, who aids in presenting the new, alternative life, is threatening but still displays remarkable kindness. Josh Tobin, the ever smiling and somehow slimy realtor, is a very recognizable individual.
Gluten is written and directed by Stephen Kaliski, with co-director Amanda Holston, who display limitless imagination. The play holds the audience’s attention without missing a beat, a nuance, or a single line. Adding their immense talents to the production are Jessica Greenberg, lighting design; Jason Sherwood,, scenic design; William Mellette, costume design, and all the creative and production members who contributed so much to the end result.
Kudos to Matt Sherwin for Sound Design and Original Music. If you possibly can, arrive at the theater early and stay there throughout the intermission. Absolutely not to be missed, are the incredible lyrics that are all about ingesting foods that are very, very good and just saying no to those that are very, very bad.
Gluten is full of wonderful and delightful funny lines and situations, but manages to tuck inside a serious message. It’s about life and living and mortality and concludes with…”I dunno, man, I thought hey, fun while it lasted.” You will love it, hate it, or just be confused. But you definitely should not miss it.
Photography by Russ Rowland
Opening: L-R: Shawna Cormier, Jeremiah Maestas, Maggie Low, Roger Manix and Josh Tobin.
Presented by Adjusted Realists
Producers: Eric Vigdorov, Jeremiah Maestas, Roger Manix and Stephen Kaliski.
Continuing its limited run at 59E59 Theaters (between Park and Madison). Thursday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 4, at 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, December 5, at 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.. Tickets: 212-279-4200.